Aftershave vs Cologne: The Great Debate

Aftershave vs Cologne: The Great Debate

Can't seem to choose between aftershave vs cologne? While they share some obvious similarities, such as fragrant scents, they are two very different items with their own unique purposes. To learn more about the differences between aftershave and cologne, keep reading.


Aftershave lives up to its namesake, as it's intended to be used after you shave. Some guys apply aftershave throughout the day, regardless of whether or not they shaved. Although there's no rule -- written or otherwise -- saying you can only apply it after you shave, there are certain benefits to doing so. The reason why aftershave is applied after shaving is because it helps to close the pores. We talked about this in a previous blog post, but it's worth mentioning again that razor bumps are the result of ingrown hairs. Aftershave, however, works to prevent razor bumps by tightening the pores, preventing hair follicles from growing sideways. Now for the bad news: because it often contains a high concentration of alcohol, aftershave can sting when applied to the skin. If you've ever watched the movie Home Alone, you may recall the main character applying aftershave for the first time, jumping and screaming in pain. This is somewhat exaggerated, but it can still cause temporary burning, especially if you have small cuts or sores on your face.


On the other side of the fence is cologne, which is short for Eau de Cologne. Some people assume that body fragrances are only used by women, but this isn't the case. Men have been using them for just as long as women, and there's no sign of this trend changing anytime soon. Unlike aftershave, cologne doesn't offer the same pore-tightening effect as its counterpart. Therefore, it's not going to protect you from razor bumps. What it will do, however, is make you smell better. Another key difference between cologne and aftershave lies in its method of activation. Aftershave is activated almost immediately once applied to the skin. Cologne, however, is activated through your body's own heat. This means you won't experience the full effect of your cologne until it has had time to activate from your body heat. This may be ten minutes after applying it, thirty minutes, an hour, or even longer. It all depends on your body chemistry and temperature. Do you prefer aftershave or cologne?